ReLACS or Refractive Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery is a custom, blade-free cataract removal procedure now offered at Vance Thompson Vision. Traditional cataract surgery has always involved a blade to create several small incisions during the procedure. With ReLACS, these incisions are now made with a laser.
This technology allows our surgeons to plan and perform cataract surgeries with laser precision. Surgeons experience more control and flexibility, plus ReLACS features real-time tools for an accurate visual of whats going on inside the eye.
As the first and only practice in the region to offer ReLACS, the surgeons at Vance Thompson Vision have participated in the clinical development of this new laser and many vision technologies. When used in conjunction, ReLACS and a variety of intraocular lenses may give patients even more visual freedom after cataract surgery, helping them remain active for decades.
At your cataract consultation, you will be educated on the traditional blade-based approach and the ReLACS laser-assisted approach to cataract surgery so that a decision can be made for your situation and goals.
When considering cataract surgery, it is important to understand your implant options so you can choose a lens that best matches your lifestyle.
Presbyopia, the Greek word for aging eye, is a condition that causes near vision to fade with age, making it difficult to see things up-close. Presbyopia is the most prevalent eye condition in America, affecting most people after the age of 40 and everyone by their early 50s. While some lenses are used to see clearly at a distance after cataract surgery, multifocal and accommodating lenses are especially designed to combat the effects of presbyopia for clear distance vision plus a full range of intermediate and near vision, reducing the need for corrective lenses or even reading glasses.
Multifocal implants, like the ReStor and Tecnis multifocal lenses pictured at right, allow focusing to occur at multiple distances by using light that enters in different parts of the eye. These advanced presbyopic lenses have the potential to reduce or eliminate patients need for corrective lenses altogether.
Multifocal lenses are made up of concentric circles, which vary to allow the eye to focus at different distances. The center of the lens provides distance power, with each surrounding ring being used to stabilize vision at intermediate and close range.
The rings of a multifocal implant allow both distance and near vision without glasses.
An accommodating lens implant is designed to be an artificial replacement for your eyes natural lens. Like multifocal lenses, they can be used both as the replacement lens in cataract surgery and for people who elect to replace their natural lens through a procedure called refractive lensectomy.
Accommodating lenses, like the Crystalens pictured at right, are designed to provide a continuous range of vision for distance, intermediate, near and everything in between, eliminating or reducing patients dependence on reading glasses or bifocals after cataract surgery.
This is made possible by the unique hinged structure of the lens, which allows the optic, or the part of the lens that you actually see through, to move back and forth as the muscles in your eye constrict and relax.
Until recently, patients with cataracts and astigmatism were still reliant on glasses or contacts for clearer vision after surgery. Now, new toric lenses treat cataract patients with astigmatism, giving them greater visual freedom. Astigmatism results when the eyes cornea has an irregular shape. Toric lenses are specially designed to help reduce or eliminate astigmatism and provide excellent distance vision, independent of glasses or contacts. Toric lenses also improve contrast sensitivity in low light situations and improve vision in challenging environments like fog and night glare.
Monofocal implants focus at one main point and that point can be set at distance, intermediate or near. This implant allows for the sharpest possible vision at its set point, usually distance. However, some type of corrective lens is needed for good vision at other distances. This occurs because the removal of the eyes natural crystalline lens affects the eyes ability to change its focus. Because the monofocal lens is typically set to focus at distance, reading glasses or bifocals are usually necessary to give patients the best possible near vision. Our standard monofocal lenses are the most advanced in their category, designed for distance and improving image quality.
The Tecnis lens, for example, is a Wavefront-adjusted monofocal implant. Unlike other monofocal lenses, Wavefront-adjusted lenses offer improved functional vision, which not only helps you see at a distance more clearly but also improves nighttime image quality and contrast sensitivity.
Some eyes take longer than others to grow accustomed to multifocal lenses. The potential exists for problems with halos and glare (particularly at night). However, such problems have been limited and usually improve over time. Patients experiencing these difficulties still tend to experience better vision than they did prior to having the lens implanted.
When considering cataract surgery, it is important to go to a center that offers several implant options and can discuss which options best match your lifestyle. At Vance Thompson Vision, we offer a full menu of lens implant options for distance vision and near vision functioning. Another important thing to consider is that centers ability to fine tune your vision after your surgery. The same laser and refractive surgery options that help people see clearly at a distance are available for cataract surgery candidates who want to optimize the effectiveness of their lens implant selection.
Those two capabilities, the full range of lens implant options and the ability to maximize your outcome after surgery are what make Vance Thompson Vision your clear choice for cataract surgery.
Due to the sophisticated design of multifocal and accommodating lenses, they are usually not fully covered by your insurance and will often carry an additional fee.
By reviewing this information you have taken an important step in educating yourself about your cataract surgery options. For an independent perspective on the technologies mentioned here, ask your family eye care provider for more information.